Family, friends renew calls for justice for Shanquella Robinson
Family and friends of Shanquella Robinson gathered at her Huntersville gravesite on Sunday to mark her birthday with songs, prayer and balloons soaring skyward.
Her mother, Sallamondra Robinson, was among those who attended. She stood surrounded by friends and supporters as the crowd sent hundreds of pink, white and yellow balloons floating into the sky over the Beatties Ford Memorial Gardens in Huntersville.
Robinson would have turned 26 on Monday. Her mother said she was moved by the display from Robinson's friends and family.
"It felt really good that so many people came out to celebrate her birthday, and she is smiling down on us," her mother said.
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U.S. and Mexican officials have been investigating Robinson's death in October. She was vacationing near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with six people she knew.
A death certificate listed Robinson's cause of death as severe spinal and neck injuries. Following her death, a video circulated online that appeared to show a woman attacking Robinson, who was identified in the video by her mother to WSOC-TV.
Mexican officials said in a statement they had released an arrest warrant for a woman believed to be "likely responsible" for the death, though no arrests have been reported.
On Sunday, Robinson's mother described the lack of arrests as "frustrating" but said her hope had not wavered.
"I know that justice is coming, and there will be arrests. I know it's on the way," she said. "Someone's going to pay for this, because she did not deserve this."
Others who attended Sunday's memorial included Shanaudica Jackson and her five-year-old daughter, who laid a bouquet of flowers on Robinson's grave. Jackson said she was a longtime friend who met Robinson growing up in the same neighborhood together.
"I'm really heartbroken and sad on the inside," Jackson said as she wiped tears from her face. "I hope justice is served. I hope people never stop saying her name, and everybody is arrested."
Sunday's event was organized by Mario Black with Million Youth March of Charlotte & Salisbury. Black also organized a rally at a Charlotte church in December calling for justice in Robinson's death.
"Our hope is justice," Black said. "And this is one way of keeping it going, keeping it alive, to let them know that we haven't forgotten. We're not going to let up until justice is served."